I’m touching her face while those around me disintegrate into slurry. She’s stroking my hair; I close my eyes, relishing her touch. The sun in her hair radiant, inspiring me with its warmth. Like her sun baked face my rifle heats my gaunt cheek. I nestle up close, pulling Joe towards me, he’s still warm. Her love’s determined, matching my own as I repeat her words.
‘You have to make it home Joe, listen to me, please!’
I shake his shoulder, his water canister tumbles into the depths below. Her face is so clear I reach out to touch its beauty when Joe slips from my grip, sliding, his shallow breath a whisper. I gaze into her cornflower eyes, they shine, uncorrupted, so unlike mine.
'Did you do that on purpose?' I ask her, bewildered.
‘Danny, we need to move now,’ my brother yells, ‘hold on!’
I try to find the strength; her face and my brother's determination hauls me up to my feet. I hold on to him, my weight dragging him down. He slips and slides on the uneven, devastated ground, barbed wire snapping at us. Its sharp teeth, hunting us down. I hear his breath, ragged, it leaves his open mouth in streams. The pain in my head and stomach is interminable. I look down to see my blood pooling, dripping , the embedded shrapnel and I know I have to set my brother free. I begin to release my grip, until he looks at me; his eyes fierce. A look so familiar hold on…
Issue 6 & 7
The Stories & Poems
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